The purpose of this study was to determine if the associations between eating competence (EC) and eating behaviors that were found in a USA sample of predominantly Hispanic parents of 4th grade youth could be replicated in a USA sample of predominantly non-Hispanic white parents of 4th graders. Baseline responses from parents (n = 424; 94% white) of youth participating in a year-long educational intervention were collected using an online survey. Validated measures included the Satter Eating Competence Inventory (ecSI 2.0TM), in-home fruit/vegetable (FV) availability, healthful eating behavior modeling, and FV self-efficacy/outcome expectancies (SE/OE). Data were analyzed with general linear modeling and cluster analyses. The findings replicated those from the primarily Hispanic sample. Of the 408 completing all ecSI 2.0TM items, 86% were female, 65% had a 4-year degree or higher, and 53% were EC (ecSI 2.0TM score ≥ 32). Compared with non-EC parents, EC modeled more healthful eating, higher FV SE/OE, and more in-home FV availability. Behaviors clustered into those striving toward more healthful practices (strivers; n = 151) and those achieving them (thrivers; n = 255). Striver ecSI 2.0TM scores were lower than those of thrivers (29.6 ± 7.8 vs. 33.7 ± 7.6; p < 0.001). More EC parents demonstrated eating behaviors associated with childhood obesity prevention than non-EC parents, encouraging education that fosters parent EC, especially in tandem with youth nutrition education.

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Department, Program, or Center

Nutrition Management (CHST)


RIT – Main Campus